So, your toddler is practicing their MMA skills at the moment (by the way, teaching your toddler self-defense is actually a great idea!) Whilst these punches won’t hurt you (unless perfectly landed in certain places), it will hurt others they choose to attack. With that in mind, you need to stop it from happening. How do you deal with a toddler hitting?

To understand how to deal with a toddler hitting, you first need to understand WHY they are hitting, so let’s take a look at that first.


What you will learn:

  • How to deal with a toddler hitting
  • 5 reasons why toddler hit

How To Deal With A Toddler Hitting - 5 Tips

5 Reasons Why Your Toddler Is Hitting

deal with toddler punching

Before we can address and understand how to handle toddler hitting, we first need to understand why… so let’s take a look!


Angry

This is the most common reason why your toddler is hitting. They are angry, and they want to lash out. If you want to know how to deal with a toddler hitting, then you need to know how to deal with an angry toddler!

When dealing with anger, many people resort to physically hitting people or hitting other things. This is also true for your toddler.


Excited

Hitting something can be a release of emotion. It doesn’t have to be a negative emotion either, it can be a positive emotion like excitement or happiness.

This is shown when sports stars score, or win a game. Fists hit their air, which is a release of a sudden rush of positive emotion.

When you notice your toddler hitting, you should seek to understand what happened in the build up to that. It may simply be excitement.


Frustrated

This is very much the same as anger, only this time it is a release of frustration so your toddler can reset and try whatever they are doing again.

Sometimes, when we are trying something difficult which needs a steady hand or concentration, we need to release pent up frustration before trying again.

Your toddler might be punching to release frustration.


Learned Behavior

This is a very common reason, and one that is difficult to deal with unless you are also dealing with the source of this learning.

Toddlers can learn about punching from folks around them, or even from the TV, or online.

Be wary about what your toddler watches on TV and on YouTube. Also, discuss your toddlers hitting habit with folks who are also going to be looking after them, such as preschool staff or baby sitters. They need to keep an eye on other kids to see if they are hitting too.


Attention

Your toddler might be hitting out because they feel like they are not getting enough attention. We all know that toddlers have a tenancy to constantly demand your attention, and this may be something they do to try and get it.


How To Deal With A Toddler Hitting – 5 Tips

How To Deal With A Toddler Hitting - 5 Tips Infographic

Explain Why It Is Wrong To Hit

The first thing you need to do is explain that it is wrong to hit out. There is no good reason to hit. Period.

Your toddler needs to understand that. It is not going to sink in immediately, there will be times when your toddler hits out again, but repeat until the message gets through.

Talking To Toddlers is an excellent program designed by an NLP Practitioner that will help you discuss these issues in a way your toddler will understand!


Teach Alternative Responses

If your toddler is angry, or frustrated, they need to learn how to deal with these emotions in a much better way. This is something that you should be teaching them.

Kids are not born with the knowledge on how to deal with emotions, they need to be taught. The best thing to do when dealing with anger or frustration is to take time away from the situation and take long, deep breaths. When your toddler needs to do this, you should support them.


Stop Them Immediately – Every Time

Want to know how to react to a toddler hitting? When your toddler hits out, stop them.

Every time.

It doesn’t matter if you are out with friends, family, or on your own, hitting cannot happen. If you see it happening, stop it.

If you see friends of family hitting, stop that too, otherwise it will look like you are only stopping your toddler from hitting. To your toddler, this will seem unfair.


Reward Good Behavior

When disciplining a toddler, the best thing you can do is reward the good behavior.

If you see them getting angry, and they deal with it in the correct manner, praise it. Reward it.

Get a reward chart for your toddler and add stars, ticks, or whatever will make your toddler happy and feel rewarded. When they get to a certain number of rewards, it is time for the big reward like a day out or even a new toy.


Withdraw Attention

If you want to know how to deal with a toddler hitting, then you need to understand that they might hit out because they want your attention.

There are two ways to deal with this:

  • You should question whether or not you are not giving them enough attention, and change.
  • Withdraw attention when your toddler is hitting.

If you flip out when your toddler hits, you are giving them attention. If you sit your toddler down and tell them off for 20 minutes, you are giving them attention.

Withdrawing attention will give them a message that hitting is not the way to get your attention. Good behavior is the best way!


Frequently Asked Questions

Is hitting normal for toddlers?

Many toddlers will go through a stage of hitting out. Let’s face it, kids are not born with ways to cope with increased emotions. They need you to teach them how they should be dealing with anger and frustration. These are the two most common reasons why your toddler is hitting.

How do you react when a toddler hits you?

It depends how many times your toddler has hit, and whether or not you have got to the root of the problem. If your toddler is hitting because they are angry, you should teach your toddler other ways to deal with it. If your toddler is hitting because they want your attention, you should withdraw attention.

How do you punish a 2 year old for hitting?

First, you should get to the bottom of why your toddler is hitting. Toddler discipline is a tricky subject, but not impossible. Especially when you know what the cause is. Firstly, you should be talking to your 2-year-old about why they are hitting. Explain that it is wrong to hit, and set up a reward system for times when they deal with their emotion correctly.


Conclusion

The 5 tips on this page will help you if you need to know how to deal with a toddler hitting!

The most important thing is that you speak to your toddler to figure out what is going on, and why they are hitting. Once you find out this info, you will be in a much better place to address it.

Rewarding good behavior is better than punishing bad behavior. Your toddler will learn that they will only get your attention if they are behaving well. Understand why toddlers hit, and then positively reinforce times when they react in a better way.

Toddlers can also hit others for no good reason, you will need to learn how to deal with that too.

Good luck!

About the Author

Dad Gold

Dad, Blogger, part-time superhero. I am giving you all the tips that I wish I had when I was a new dad! Bringing up a child can be tough... and I want to use this blog to give you some parenting tips I picked up throughout my journey as a dad (so far!), along with some recommended gear that I use to help make the dad journey much easier!

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